Find your perfect internship with these tips
January 28, 2019
Searching for internships as a college student can be very stressful, and it is that time of the year again. It can be an overwhelming process, especially if some of your friends already have an internship ready to go. If you are struggling to get an internship, the following advice may be just what you need.
From my own experiences, I feel confident saying the best way to succeed in the hunt for an internship is to create and follow a plan, do your research and know what you are looking for.
Do the research
Whether it be research, building things or working at a desk, be sure to know what you are looking for in your work. To efficiently search for an internship, it is important to know your passions and what type of fields you are most interested in.
This will make your internship search a lot easier when you are lining up your interests with those of a potential employer. Also, make sure to know what areas or environments you would be most comfortable working in. If you are unsure about your career path, take the time to talk to a career counselor, your adviser or someone you look up to.
Effective and thorough research is just as essential as your resume, so don’t wait until the last minute. The more you work on it, the more successful you will be and the more worry you will save.
Update and share your documents
Most internships will require some sort of resume, which is a concise document of your most prestigious accomplishments and recent involvement. Some employers may ask for a curricula vitae, which is longer than a resume because it is an overview of anything and everything relating to your life accomplishments relevant toward your academic career.
A cover letter may also be required, which is a way you can introduce yourself more personally to the employer. The Career Center is a great place to get these documents reviewed because it has professionals who are there to help.
Online documentation is also a great way to connect with professionals from all over the world. For example, try creating a LinkedIn or a Handshake account for more local opportunities.
Find and apply
The internet is definitely the most useful tool when searching for internships. LinkedIn is a great place to search for internships and connect with professionals in areas you are interested in. A more straightforward website is internship.com.
A helpful feature in this site is the “who” button; it allows you to see which of your Facebook friends have a connection with your desired company. Another popular website is glassdoor.com because it allows you to instantly find salaries, reviews of the company and its employers and gives a description of the potential job interview.
If you decide you want to go the nonprofit route, try out idealist.com because this website itself runs as a nonprofit.
Prepare for interviews
It is difficult to prepare for an interview, especially if you don’t know what questions they will exactly ask. Looking at the company of interest’s mission statement or vision is always a great place to start because some employers want to know who is actually “committed.”
From personal experience, the Career Center is a helpful tool because it offers mock interviews, which really give you a feel for the real interview. Another tip is to always have a resume or CV prepared to bring to your interview because some employers may ask about your skills.
Plan for after the search
Once your applications are submitted and your interviews are completed, be sure to keep track of when you should get a response. If you have not heard back within the allotted time, follow up with an email asking about the position. Most importantly, thank the employer for giving his or her time to you.
Remember: If you get stuck, there are plenty of resources on campus which can help steer you in the right direction.
Molly is a junior in LAS.